European College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists

Ongoing and New Studies

Invitation to participate in a new initiative to tackle inherited eye disease in dogs

Inherited eye diseases cause pain and blindness in thousands of purebred and crossbred dogs every year. Funded by Dogs Trust, a new interdisciplinary Consortium to Research Inherited Eye Diseases in Dogs (CRIEDD) has been established.

This group, comprised of geneticists from the Animal Health Trust and veterinary ophthalmologists, aims to identify, investigate and help eliminate these diseases.

We are developing a laboratory work flow that will allow us to screen DNA samples from ANY affected dog for ALL the currently known mutations associated with inherited eye disease in dogs. By screening dogs of all breeds for all reported mutations we will identify individuals that are clinically affected but that do not carry the disease mutation(s) associated with their specific breed. Identifying genetically distinct forms of inherited eye disease will enable us to fast-track investigations aimed at identifying the underlying mutations and developing DNA tests for these new, ‘emerging’ diseases.

We would value your help

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Siberian Husky Glaucoma Study - November 2018

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Ophthalmology Service is currently recruiting Siberian Huskies for a study of the genetic basis of glaucoma. Past research reveals that the Siberian Husky is one of the more commonly affected breeds of this painful and rapidly blinding disease, which leads to irreversible loss of sight. This study will harness the power of new canine DNA sequencing tools and technologies to try to identify the genetic mutation (or mutations) that cause glaucoma and, in turn, develop a genetic test for the disease in this breed and possibly other affected breeds.
The study goal is to identify the mutation (or mutations) in DNA that cause glaucoma and, in turn, develop a genetic test for the disease in this breed and possibly other affected breeds. Due to the current lack of effective treatments for glaucoma, a DNA test would provide an invaluable tool in efforts to fight this disease as dog breeders would be able to avoid affected dogs and carriers of the disease in their breeding strategies and ultimately could eliminate this exceedingly painful, disabling disease from the dog population.

Forms & Information download page (requires login)


Inherited Optic Nerve Coloboma Research – March 2016

OptiGen in collaboration with the research laboratory of Dr. Gustavo Aguirre at the University of Pennsylvania is interested in finding the modifier gene that determines the presence of colobomas in dogs affected with the Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) which have tested positive for that gene defect. CEA is an autosomal recessive disease affecting a number of dog breeds. Even though not all of these breeds are collie related, the generic term CEA is used to phenotypically characterize the disease. The disease has 3 major phenotype components: choroidal hypoplasia (CH), coloboma/staphyloma/posterior scleral ectasia (coloboma) and retinal detachment. The frequency of the 3 phenotype components varies, with CH being most frequent, and detachments least frequent. The basic CEA lesion is, in fact, CH, and this abnormality must be present in dogs with coloboma and/or retinal detachment for the latter two severe conditions to be considered related to CEA. It should be noted that there are also other causes of coloboma and retinal detachment which are unrelated to CEA.
The molecular defect responsible for CEA has been previously identified as being caused by a 7.8 kb homozygous deletion in the NHEJ1 gene. Testing for this mutation informs on CH, but not on the other phenotype components of the disease. The working hypothesis is that colobomas result from a mutation or sequence change in a second modifier gene(s) that requires that the homozygous deletion in the NHEJ1 gene is present. The aim of this research is to identify the modifier locus/gene.
If you are interested in participating, please visit the OptiGen website ( and follow the link (Inherited Optic Nerve Coloboma Research - all breeds that carry CEA - March 17, 2016) for more information and the examination forms needed to enroll your patients in the study.

Request for Research Samples from Miniature* or Toy* Poodles diagnosed with Inherited Cataracts 
or Optic Nerve Hypoplasia or Micropapilla - December 19, 2013

The Poodle Club of America Foundation, Inc. is supporting research aimed at identifying the molecular causes of Optic Nerve Hypoplasia & Micropapilla and Inherited Cataracts in miniature and toy poodles. OptiGen in collaboration with the research laboratory of Dr. Gustavo Aguirre at the University of Pennsylvania is collecting samples and clinical data on these diseases with the goal of developing diagnostic DNA tests for the conditions. Research samples from affected dogs are needed for this study. More complete information on the studies as well as research sample submission forms may be found through

* Please note we have focused this study in Miniature and Toy Poodles because it is in these varieties that Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, Micropapilla or Inherited Cataracts are more frequently found. However, if there are Standard Poodles diagnosed with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, Micropapilla or Inherited Cataracts, we would be delighted to include samples from them as well for the research work.